The importance of an article….

And by an “article,” I mean a definite article in the grammar context. From Google: Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 8.00.03 AM

Let’s contrast with an indefinite article: Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 8.03.05 AM

Now, why does that matter? Well, Kathleen Kennedy has said that Star Wars is about the Skywalker family. And who is that? Luke and Leia, obviously. Anakin is dead, or at least a Force ghost. Who else? Oh yeah, Kylo Ren, also known as Ben Solo to his family and (former) friends. Then there was the mysterious Rey, origins unknown, who may or may not be a Skywalker. The Force Awakens goes to some pains to be vague about who she actually is. On a first through tenth (or thereabouts) showing of the movie, I remained quite convinced that she was Luke’s long-lost daughter, perhaps one who was hidden even from him by her mother for reasons unknown.

In April 2016, J.J. Abrams blew a blaster shot-sized hole in that theory when he said that Rey’s parents weren’t in TFA. I remember thinking, “well, crap, there goes that theory.” And then Pablo Hidalgo tweeted this:

Screen Shot 2017-07-05 at 8.50.35 PM

This is a screenshot from a The Star Wars Connection video in their Reylo 101 series. I suggest you check them out if you are interested in such things.

Now, who is Pablo Hidalgo? Why do we care what he tweets? He’s the lore master for Star Wars; he helps make sure viewers don’t get a bunch of contradictory story points. Can we all take a moment to be grateful for this guy?

Taking a moment.

Now, let’s look at this tweet. He says: “Kylo is the Skywalker.” (Emphasis added). He doesn’t say “Kylo is a Skywalker.” The, being a definite article, says something very specific. Kylo is the, meaning only, Skywalker of his generation. And if Kylo is the only Skywalker of his generation, then that precludes Rey from being a Skywalker as well. My Rey-as-daughter-of-Luke theory is officially dead in space.

For what it’s worth, J.J. Abrams came back with something about he didn’t mean that her parents weren’t in TFA, but rather they weren’t in her orbit. Frankly, that denial was unconvincing. And the only way I would have believed it was if he’d said: Rey’s parents are actually Luke and whoever. Also, given the timeline of Bloodlines, it is virtually impossible to believe that she is Han and Leia’s daughter.

All of this to say: grammar matters. If Pablo Hidalgo meant that Kylo was one Skywalker of several, then he would have said “a Skywalker.” Instead, he said “the Skywalker.” Now, maybe I’m reading too much into an article, but it seems like a story checker would be aware of the importance of a definite article in a tweet following a bombshell like Abrams’.

What say you? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill and relying too much on my English major training? Do you buy it?

2 thoughts on “The importance of an article….

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